For the sake of this post, we’re going to hyperbolize and declare that we’ve never, not once, met a soul who hasn’t liked tacos. And as you indulge us and our exaggerated claim, we’re inclined to both ask and answer: what’s not to like about them?
At their core, they’re built for consumption success – a medley of seasoned-to-perfection foodstuffs tucked neatly inside a vessel that’s as easy to take a bite out of as it is to carry from plate to mouth. They pair seamlessly with a pitcher of margs. And they’re so inclusive! Vegans and vegetarians and pescatarians and meat lovers can all be accommodated by variations of this beloved Mexican dish.
We feel that we must mention, however, the truth that not all tacos are created equal when it comes to quality and taste. But we can still say with confidence that we haven’t met a taco that we weren’t at least willing to finish prior to griping about.
Luckily, Nashville has a diverse ecosystem of Mexican restaurants and taco joints, and we think it’s worth dedicating an entire Saturday or Sunday to discovering a handful of them. And let’s not blow a gasket when you find out your favorite spot isn’t included in this guide – we’re wise to the fact that there are plenty better/more authentic/less expensive/more gourmet/etc. places to grab a taco. This is just the first of many Taco Tours we’ll be taking you on!
Note: If you do have dietary restrictions, it’ll serve you well to check out the menus below prior to venturing out.
Time: Most of your day
Neighborhoods: East Nashville, The Nations
Walkability: Not much – travel by car
Stop 1 — Mas Tacos Por Favor
We’re kicking off this journey of experiencing some of Nashville’s best on the East side at Bored in Nashville-favorite, Mas Tacos Por Favor. This unassuming taco joint is cash only, so come prepared (they do have an ATM just in case, though).
Their limited menu features only six tacos to choose from, making your decision fairly easy (or hard, if you’re as enticed by their options as we always seem to be). If you’re looking for some guidance, we’re partial to their fried avocado taco and pulled pork taco! And if you weren’t about to embark on a day-long taco excursion, we’d push you to get the chicken tortilla soup, too. Head into the bar area if you’re interested in cheers-ing to your fun day ahead – they’ve got $7 margs that are simply delish.
Stop 2 — Tacos Aurora
Just up the street from Mas Tacos is Hunters Station, an eclectic food hall that our next stop, Tacos Aurora, calls home. Like Mas Tacos, this spot has a minimalist menu that should, in theory, make ordering a breeze. But with filling options ranging from al pastor to surf n turf, we wish you good luck as you attempt to narrow down your order to just one or two tacos.
BONUS STOP — Redheaded Stranger
If you’re on roll and feeling optimistic that your stomach can handle an extra stop squeezed in, we recommend Redheaded Stranger for some Tex-Mex style fare as you head out of East and toward the next neighborhood on this taco tour.
Depending on the time of day, you’ll order from their “Sunup” or “Sundown” menu, and choose between their run-of-the-mill (but equally delicious) options like shredded chicken or bean and cheese tacos, or their more unique recipes like tater tot and red hatch chile tacos.
STOP 3 — La Juquilita
Alright, we’ll be completely transparent on this one… we’ve never been to La Juquilita. BUT, we’ve heard a lot about them and they’re in close proximity to the next stop in The Nations. So it made perfect sense to include them on our taco tour. Especially considering the many rave reviews that almost always mention their authenticity. Consider us very much sold.
Note that, similar to Mas Tacos, this is also a cash only joint. But unlike Mas Tacos is the fact that they don’t have a handy ATM. So here’s your warning to arrive prepared! It’s worth mentioning that according to some (no-so-positive) Yelp reviews, they aren’t super consistent with the total amounts owed? Who knows, but we’re just stopping by for a taco or two that start at $1.25, so we don’t think you’ll encounter any steep prices or financial troubles on this visit.
Stop 4 — Oscar’s Taco Shop
Any Mexican establishment with an Instagram bio that reads “So Fresh. So Good. So Cal.” is an immediate hit in our book. Even more so when they endearingly misspell “Fresh” to read “Freah.” Regardless of the mishap, we can’t help but love Oscar’s Taco Shop. Are they the most authentic? Maybe not. But they consistently serve up a delicious meal and that’s all you can really ask for as a paying customer, right? We love their classic carnitas taco and the shredded beef crispy taco.
Your outing doesn’t have to end here, though we must say we’re envious of the resilience your stomach seems to possess. If you’re keen on another stop or planning to forge ahead after a midday nap, we’d suggest heading to 12 South to end your tour at our nighttime favorites which include Taqueria Del Sol and Bartaco!
Tell us: Where’s your go-to for tacos in Nashville?